Commission questions validity of ‘WhatsApp talaq’ and orders department of non-resident Keralites’ affairs to find man
A 21-year-old woman from Kerala has been divorced by her husband over WhatsApp after just four weeks of marriage.
The woman’s husband left for Dubai 10 days after their marriage, and then followed up with a ‘triple talaq’ over the popular message sharing app, according to the Times of India.
“He said she was like an apple and he had already tasted it. So he did not want her anymore,” said J Prameela Devi, a member of the state women’s commission court.
Read: Majority of Muslim women in India opposed to oral divorce: survey
The 21-year-old student of Kerala college left her in-laws’ residence and lodged a complaint at the women’s commission’s court in Pala, Kottayam. Her mother had paid the groom a dowry of one million rupees and also given him 80 sovereigns of gold.
The commission, which questions the validity of a ‘WhatsApp talaq’, has ordered the department of non-resident Keralites’ affairs to find the woman’s husband, a 27-year-old, who is based in Dubai, but is originally from Vaikom in Kottayam. It has also told the police to present the man’s parents at the next hearing.
“I don’t think a normal youth can act in this manner. The commission should provide protection and legal aid to the girl and her mother,” said B Sugathakumari, an activist-poet and former chairperson of the state women’s commission. She further said that strict action should be taken against the man.
An Indian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan had recently conducted a survey which found that 92.1% Muslim women wanted triple talaq banned. Oral divorce delivered through Skype, text messages, email and Whatsapp have increasing become a cause of concern for Indian women.
However, Muslim scholars have not reached a consensus regarding divorce over WhatsApp.
Sayyed Attakoya Thangal, the district president of the Samastha Kerala Jam-Iyyathul Ulama, held that the divorce was valid. “The divorce, however, will be granted only after holding discussions with both the man and wife and their family members. If the husband sticks to his stand, divorce will be sanctioned,” he added.
Read: Saying ‘divorce’ consecutively should be punishable, rules CII
However, another member of the same organisation who’s also chairman of the state Hajj committee, said the WhatsApp message was not a legal document. “Talaq should ideally be done face-to-face. If it is not possible, talaq can be done after presenting relevant documents signed by witnesses,” said Kottumala T M Bappu Musaliyar.
Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen state president TP Abdulla Koya Madani, termed the WhatsApp divorce an ‘oversimplification of the entire process’. “Talaq should be done under unavoidable circumstances and conditions. Mandatory steps for talaq cannot be followed in WhatsApp.”
This article originally appeared on The Times of India